call now to request your free decision guide. and learn more about the kinds of plans that will be here for you now - and down the road. i have a lifetime of experience. so i know how important that is. >> i'm wolf blitzer and it's 1:00 in washington. 1:30 a.m. saturday morning in pyongyang, north korea. wherever you are watching, thanks very much for joining us. under fire, president trump asking the u.s. justice department to lift a gag order on under cover fbi informant. now one top democrat said the president may have gone too far and he is vowing an investigation. speaking out, cnn getting answers directly from an eyewitness about what happened during the ambush of soldiers in
niger. you will hear what one soldier said he saw. also cliff hanger as the trump administration releases files, one sentence oddly cut short after a question about harvey oswald's possible involvement with the cia. who is holding the answer? all of that coming up, but questions being raised today. serious questions about president trump and the u.s. justice department. those questions surround an fbi inform and under a gag order and a congressional investigation. sources tell us that president trump let it be known that he wanted the justice department to make that gag order disappear. something confirmed today by the white house adviser, kellyanne conway. >> it is not unusual for a president to weigh in. this president as you saw from everything from the jfk files to this particular ongoing investigation is for transparency. he believes as many others do,
frankly, that the fbi informant should be free to say what he knows. >> kellyanne conway interviewed on the new day earlier today. the justice correspondent is joining us. do we know or did the president influence the justice department's decision? >> yes, he did. he know that from two sources that president trump directed his senior staff to get that gag order on the informant lifted. this informant said he wants to share the details of what he is calling corruption surrounding the approval of the company's sale to russia and secretary of state hillary clinton was on the committee of nine heads who approved it. after president trump gave this direction to lift the gag order, we know that white house counsel relayed this to the justice department and the gag order was
lifted, but here's why democrats are crying foul. they have rules limning white house involvement and criminal law enforcement when it involves the president's opponents. the president talked about the uranium deal calling it the watergate of the modern age. today he tweeted about it. he tweeted this. he said it is now commonly agreed after many months of costly looking that there was no collusion between russia and trump. it was collusion with hc, meaning hillary clinton. there is not a conclusion in all of the russia investigations that are still much ongoing. wolf? >> what is the construction of the call for the investigation? >> the republican-led investigation and many committees will be two-fold. they want to know if hillary clinton or anyone who approved the uranium deal aware that
there was a simultaneousuous fbi investigation and guilty plea into the russian company that won approval. that's the investigation that they played a in. the second question is republicans are raising concerns about reports that the russians channelled millions of dollars into the clinton foundation at the same time this deal to benefit russia was getting the okay. of course raising questions of a pay to play scheme. several committees are looking into both questions and now of course they will be allowed to talk to the informant now that the gag order has been lifted. wolf? >> jessica schneider, thank you very much. adam schiff, the tom democrat in the house intelligence may open an investigation into the possible meddling by the president of the united states. schiff has the senior on the house intelligence committee. here with us to discuss this and more, gloria borger broke the
news of the president's push to get that order lifted and michael is a cnn legal analyst to robert muller at the justice department. kellyanne said the president weighed in because he wants transparency. what's your response? >> that's what evan perez and i were told last night. that the white house wants to be transparent on this and of course this has nothing to do with politics. now that t in trump stands for transparency, i guess. the president did direct his senior staff to facilitate the justice department's full cooperation with this to get this lifted. i should say that the justice department has made it clear that their decision was independent. they wouldn't comment any further, but if you put one and one together, you end up with two. >> the justice department put out a statement.
the department of justice is an agency in the executive branch and the president like presidents before and after is free to communicate with executive branch appointees. what's your reaction? is the president okay expressing his views directly to the justice department on a sensitive issue like this? >> it contra veens about 40 years of practice between the white house and the justice department with respect to ongoing matters and this is now a congressional ongoing matter. it would have been better left as a communication from grassley to the justice department and let the justice department respond in due time. when the trump administration said they are seeking transparency, you have to view it in the context of what they have done with the communications which is the comey loyalty and the comey firing. the interview of the u.s. attorneys in the district and the houston districts and new york and now this. it does seem as if when it suits
them, they are willing to reach out to the justice department. when it doesn't suit them, they back off. >> you are not suggesting anything criminal here? >> it's a policy and practice to make sure there is no appearance of political interference in the justice process. it's an appearance matter as much as anything else. the justice department and the white house have long honor said that. >> it's more of a problem from the justice department's point of view. the justice department needs to show that it is independent and the president always said i want this done faster and i want that done faster. when you direct your white house counsel to speak with people at the justice department and you see that it does happen quickly, i think the justice department may have some questions that they need to answer about their
independence. when they lead the oval office where he is allegedly told by the president to back off, he goes right to sessions and said please stop this. please have the president stop reaching out to law enforcement. that's not appropriate. he said yes or no or waved his hands. that's the pattern i'm speaking to and the stuff they need to avoid because they can't get away with saying this is transparency. it's not. >> the president did tweet this morning and i will put it up on the screen if we have it. it is commonly agreed after many months of costly, costly, all in caps, that there was no collusion between russia and trump. there was collusion with hc, hillary clinton. he already reached his final conclusion. the special counsel robert mule has not. >> she clearly talking about this uranium 1 case.
he wants the whistle blower to talk about it. hillary clinton said she had nothing to do with it. everybody is going back and forth on that depending what side of the spectrum you are on. nobody has said that there was not collusion. we haven't heard it from mueller and we haven't heard it from the republican chairman of the senate intelligence committee who said the investigation into collusion is not yet completed. i don't know where he is getting that conclusion about collusion. >> he is hoping it's so, i think. the facts have not broad us there. in fact, the issues that arose yesterday with the reach out to wikileaks by the an lytics firm fits this with flynn and don and kushner. all of them making reach outs to the russians that can't be the end of the inquiry. >> the president clearly feels
it's over. they need a special counsel and the house and senate are not done by any means. thanks very much. let's talk more about this and other headlines. joining us now is wisconsin republican congressman shawn duffy. thanks for joining us. >> good to be with you, wolf. you at all concerned about the president's staff telling the justice department about their interest this this case and lifting the gag order on the fbi informant? >> not at all. i'm shocked with media reporting and from democrats. we had a year or 10 months of conversation about russia colluding with american campaigns and here we have direct evidence if we can lift this gag order of someone who can talk to us about the collusion between a russian company and potentially the clinton foundation. their drive to get 20% of american uranium to make nuclear weapons. if we care about the russians and the involvement in american society, we should all stand
together and work to get this information out and those who i don't think want to see this gag order lifted are there to protect hillary clinton from the scandal. >> the gag order clearly has now been lifted and we will see where it goes. you want the special counsel robert mueller and the house intelligence and senate intelligence and judiciary committees to continue their investigation into russian meddling in the u.s. election last year which the u.s. intelligence community has concluded was clearly a threat to the u.s. democracy? >> you don't roll this investigation back, but i have concerns because whether it was james comey or james clammer or senator feinstein, all democrats who said we have seen no evidence of solution between the trump campaign and russia. though we have a special counsel investigating it. the only evidence we have seen thus far is with the clintons or the dnc, with the dossier that
you have talked about and uranium one. it's frustrating that you have -- >> what about the meeting between senior trump campaign officials and russians at trump tower in new york city after they received an e-mail from the russians saying you want to discuss hillary clinton dirt? >> no information was transitioned in that meeting. very short in time. if you look at the dossier and the dnc and hillary clinton through fusion gps, they paid russian informants to provide dirt on the sitting president. if you look at the weight and scope of a scandal, the democrats and hillary paid for information from the kremlin on donald trump, the sitting president as opposed to a 10 minute meeting where nothing transpired. >> you remember of course congressman -- the original contact with fusion gps was with
a republican who asked for -- >> that is not confirmed. there is no confirmation from fusion gps. >> it was a republican who -- >> no, no, no. >> you didn't listen to the president? president trump himself said yes, he thinks he knows who that republican is. the president said he thinks he knows who that republican is and he is not releasing the name. he said he thinks he knows and confirmed that the republicanal contact with fusion gps was with a republican later after the president got the nomination. you are right. the democrats took over and we only learned the other day it was the clinton campaign and the dnc that was directly involved back in january. hold on a minute. we did report the supporters were involved in getting that information, but are you saying the president of the united states is wrong when he said a republican initially made that contact? >> he may be. >> why do you say that?
tell us why you think the president is wrong. >> because the only person that has information about who the republican client would be is fusion gps. they said we had a republican client when he asked for a confirmation and the media asked for confirmation. none has been given. i think you have this untrustworthy fusion gps who is willing to take salacious and cannedalous material about the president and put that out in a dossier. i don't think they have credibility. i have seen no independent verification outside of what fusion gps said. the president might have heard news reports and speculated on who that could be. i'm going to wait and reserve judgment on whether there was a republican there or not. i know you have the dnc and hillary clinton who funded $9 million into this organization. by the way, it was used -- there is no media organizations, even
cnn wouldn't report on this dossier until the fbi went and briefed the president on the dossier and it was leaked to cnn. all of a sudden giving credibility to a report that no one believed in. my question becomes what's going on in the fbi where they are briefing the president on this? then leaking it to cnn at the top level. it's a concern about what's happening. >> they wanted the outgoing president and the incoming president to know about this document because they thought even though a lot of the information this there had not been confirmed, apparently some of the information in that document had been confirmed. >> what, that there was russian informants, yes, but the salacious material. >> not the salacious material, but the contacts with russians. some of that was confirmed and they decided you know what, the president of the united states, the outgoing president and
incoming president should at least know about the existence of this document. i don't see anything wrong with that. >> but wolf, i'm sorry i was talking over you. my concern is this. this is not the good people who work at the fbi. this is leadership. we have a fusion gps organization paying kremlin officials. that's not the way intelligence works. this had red flags all over the map and the fbi would brief the president when even the media was discrediting the report and put up by mother jones or buzz feed is highly skeptical of what the motive was there. the fact that i think cnn and great work on your part, but you had a tip off and reporting it means to me that this was not about briefing the president. this was about giving credibility to a bogus report against the president that gives me great concern. >> hold on a monday. great concern about the leadership of the fbi? >> yes.
absolutely. those were making decisions on this bogus report, leaking it out to cnn and briefing the president. again, when you look at the tactics and techniques used, guys in the field and the fbi would shake their head and go this is unacceptable stuff that we are taking this as credible material? we never do this in the fbi. that's my concern. if we stand and saying i want to know what russia did and what involvement they had in our election. i will stand with cnn and fox and every other organization. we have to be fair and say -- let's apply equal pressure to both of them so we know what russia's involvement was. i get frustrate said because it seems like democrats want to focus on an investigation when it involves donald trump. when it involves hillary clinton they want nothing to do with an investigation in russia because it might look bad for their party.
>> fbi and cia officials all say that christopher steel, the former british spy who was directly involved in coming up with this opposition research was highly respected, well-known to the u.s. intelligence and that was one of the reasons why the fbi itself, they didn't do it in the end, the fbi itself was thinking about paying for more of this information. you have seen those reports, right? >> but wolf, no. i don't know him, but i know he was paying high level kremlin officials. >> how do you know he was paying high level kremlin officials for the information? >> we were told that. i think it was in the "washington post" story. fusion gps reported that. this information was paid for. if you look at the flow of information of fusion gps, red flags are being raised. we have kremlin officials who are passing information through
into the american media to discreddi discredit a president. this is the real collusion. >> you want all these investigations to continue to come up with final answers on the sensitive issues. you are raising the sensitive issues, the democrats are raising and the president may say as he tweeted this morning and i will read it once again. it is now commonly agreed after many months of costly looking that there was no collusion between russia and trump and there was request hillary clinton. you want all these investigations to coming up with answers so that the american public learns exactly what happened and tries to prevent the russians from engaging in this kind of activity down the road, right? >> i think america deserves to know. to make my first point again, democrats have said there is no evidence of collusion that they have seen between trump and russia. we are seeing other evidence
with the dossier and uranium 1 between the clintons and russia. with that said, we should apply equal pressure and equal force to not look at donald trump or hillary clinton or republicans or democrats. let's look at russia and how they are trying to disseminate information. as americans we are all better off and you in the media and me as a congressman are better off doing what they try to do. let's go on that front. >> we agree on that. we want answers to make sure we fully understand what the russians were up to and make sure it doesn't happen down the road whether in 2018, 2020, the next presidential election in the united states or elsewhere in other democracies around the world. congressman, thanks for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. >> we have truly extraordinary reporting coming up. an eyewitness speaks about what he saw in the niger ambush and
why the americans were separated. was jfk assassin work for the cia after that was asked to a former cia director. moments ago, tiger woods, once the world's greatest golfer heading into court to make his plea in a dui case. stand by. ing to worry about? well at safelite, we know sooner or later every chip will crack. these friends were on a trip when their windshield got chipped. so they scheduled at safelite.com. they didn't have to change their plans or worry about a thing. i'll see you all in a little bit. and i fixed it right away with a strong repair they can trust. plus, with most insurance a safelite repair is no cost to you. >> customer: really?! >> tech: being there whenever you need us that's another safelite advantage. >> singers: safelite repair, safelite replace.
it's picking the care team and feeling secure in where you are. visit cancercenter.com/breast there are crucial new sdmts in the niger ambush. the troops were unprepared for a potential battle, telling cnn he was surprised the unit was even going out on a mission because they were wearing t-shirts and baseball tcaps. live from the capital of niger, did this soldier give an explanation as to why the troops went on that patrol va way
lightly armed? what else did he say they were lacking? >> wolf, it's important to know that that is pretty much the overall posture of forces in niger and what they said result and this soldier was not just because the soldiers were wearing. he said he himself when he and his unit went out on the patrol and they have about 80 to 100 individuals. he was among the first to arrive on the scene along with his unit after this attack took place. he was describing how when they got there, they saw the americans and the nigerians who survived back to back in the positions.
he described how he saw two of the bodies of the u.s. soldiers who were killed in the back of one american vehicle. a third not too far away and of course the fourth body that of la david johnson found about a day and a half later. he was describing how some of the landscape was smoldering and villagers said the attackers set it on fire. that was how they made their escape. he also managed to speak to some of the wounded nigerians who said that the ambush initially started out with about eight vehicles. the assailants managed to separate the convoy. two vehicles within the convoy because of the hail of bullets that was fired towards them and did become separated from the rest of the attack itself that arrived with dozens more attackers that came on motorcycles. that is when this soldier said the heavy casualties took place.
he is raising the question of america's approach to the war on terror, specifically what they are trying to accomplish saying he believes that america needed to reevaluate it. he said they were not seeing sufficient or actual real results, wolf. >> are they giving you numbers? we are told there may be as many as 1,000 troops still in niger right now. maybe 6,000 around other parts of africa. a dangerous environment with isis affiliated terror groups ga gaping strength. >> as you know, the military does not disclose specific numbers of soldiers. we were here in niger over the summer and visiting the drone base that is here as well as the one outside that is currently under construction. the u.s. numbers at least in the
hundreds. it is a force that has seen an increase in numbers because the drone base is under construction. one of the reasons they are focusing on niger is because it is critical when it comes to the war on terror especially in the region. these drones that america is flying as yous fly ing uses it to look at targets. you have isis and the growing threat in libya to the north. al qaeda and isis a failiates that have begun emerging. then you have the threat and now in the words of the soldier, america will have to look at the terror threat that exists in niger. >> be careful over there. we will stay in close touch. let's get analysis on all of this.
she is a cnn fellow and the counsel on foreign relations just back from africa yesterday. what are the big questions you think that need to be answered and the lessons we need to learn and why the four american soldiers were killed. >> i think right now we see all of the things that special operations forces have been saying for years. which is there is only about 20% with the resources that have been met. do you need more resources and more capabilities and more intelligence gathering. they are talking about the fact that there wasn't a lot of attention from washington for a significant amount of time. the foamer head of africa has been saying listen, we were telling you all about these threats for months. very few people were paying attention until this tragedy happened. the truth is that these are missions that go on all the time. there was nothing hidden about the fact that the u.s. was doing these operations.
it was on the website and what has gone zowrong is occupying washington's attention and special operations command and everyone focused on africa and only focused on this. you had limited resources and escalating threats. >> the concern is there may have been a major blunder with these soldiers that go out there without body armor and armored vehicles and the proper weapons. they are wearing baseball caps and t-shirts. that's a problem. >> the situation is dynamic and kinetic. that means it will move very quickly. a lot is happening. in some ways i am not so focused on the t-shirts and baseball caps. we were in northern syria. u.s. special forces there too. you see them low key for security reasons and they are
trying not to come in with a bunch of rep ones. their job is these foreign defense missions. training and working with and going on patrols with local forces. they are not coming in geared up. that's not as unusual to me as why didn't they have the intel and overwatch resources. i talked to people who worked that entire weekend after this to try to figure out what has been happening. this took attention and focused on what's going on. there are so many questions that have to be answered. >> john mccain i'm sure said that the investigation could take another month or 30 days to start getting answers. there are plenty of questions especially with sergeant la david johnson and why he was separated from the other soldiers. >> how did it happen that i they had to go back for him and how did he get separated in the first place.
they did not get tested for the appointment. they are used to multiple deployments and they are not new to the situation. it clearly changed and it clearly was dynamic and trying to adopt new postures as it was going on. we don't know yet. even all the questions that have to be answer and fort bragg is focused on this and congress has to be as well. >> all right. we will continue our analysis. thanks very much for joining us. >> thousands of pages of documents are now out and we are left with one big cliff hanger. was this involved with an association with the cia. james mattis is on the zone between north and south korea with a message for kim jung un. we will go there. stay with us.
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in the end there will be great transparency. it is my hope to get just about everything in public. >> first philipp is the author of a cruel and shocking act, the secret history of the kennedy assassination. clint hill is the author of five president, my extraordinary journey with eisenhower, nixon and ford. he was the agent who jumped on the back of president kennedy's limo when the shots rang out in dallas back in 1963. what are your thoughts on the documents that were released? not everything was released. they decided to withhold a lot of the documents, but what are
your thoughts about those that were released? >> i'm glad it's something. that gives us a start. hopefully we can find something that is valuable that will give us answers and the answer to why and if there was anybody else that could be involved which i don't believe is true. >> so far did you learn anything from the documents that were made public? >> nothing i didn't know before. >> what about you? >> this was a big disappointment. a lot of documents have been out in the public record for many years. we got the full text for the first time. the important documents, the super secret documents we have seen not a word of are under seal and we may or may not see them in april. >> because the cia and the fbi want to keep it secret. >> one thing we learn side that agents like this are all
adamant. some of this information has to remain sacred even after april. >> it was surprising to a lot of us. for 25 years we knew this date was coming where they had to release everything and at the last minute they said they are not going to do that. >> you would think with 25 years they would have the opportunity to go through what they wanted to go through and make their point much before the 26th of october. >> what did you think about the interview with richard helms and was the director and later cia director who was asked about lee harvey oswald having a connection. was he an agent and it sort of ends the next page of the transcript of that interview is gone. >> that was bizarre. i have no explanation for it. i doubt that he acknowledged there was a connection. that would have been big news, but that was a bizarre fact that the transcript was cutoff at that moment. >> what did you think? that was a cliff hanger there.
>> it would be surprising to me if he had any association with the cia. even remote. that will be a surprise. >> the key question still is, what was lee harvey oswald doing in mexico city and he met with soviet officials and went to the cuban embassy and there were transcripts and an intercepted phone conversation. did they know what he was plotting? what did you get out of the information about his visit to mexico city? >> the documents we got do support the idea that something happened in mexico city. oswald is meeting with cuban and soviet supplies including a kgb assassinations expert. i don't think there is evidence they had anything to do with this, but oswald was meeting with an assassinations expert before the assassination. you would think that would raise a red alert. >> cuban official diplomat in an intercepted conversation was heard saying that they knew for
a fact that he was a good shooter. they had the capability of shooting a weapon with accuracy. >> he qualified as a marine. he was qualified as a sharpshooter and he did have knowledge the weapons and capable of doing exactly what he did. >> the cubans knew that because he was in the marine corps or because they saw him shooting? >> i doubt if they saw him shooting, but they got information from the fact that he was in the marines. >> there is a lot more to come. there will be a circus in april when the showdown between people at the white house and some of these agencies. there is a fiercer debate than we ever knew. >> it was a fierce debate and the president tweeted jfk files are being carefully released. in the end there will be great transparency. it is my hope to get just about everything to the public. that leaves open the possibility
that not everything is going to be made available to the public. he was expecting to release everything. he was as surprised as anyone when they made the appeal that you can't release some of these. >> when he assures the public he was going to release them, he was not aware that there was i fierce debate going on behind the scenes. >> 25 years to conclude this issue. thanks very, very much. congresswoman fredricka wilson of florida is facing a wave of threats to her own safety following a very public spat with president trump. threats she said ranged from rude to downright menacing. the measures now in place to protect her. we will update you. very disturbing information coming up. what makes preference worth it?
florida congresswoman fredricka wilson's office said they received threats to her safety. she made headlines for criticizing a condolence call for president trump to a gold star widow sparking a war of words between the two. the statement said as a result of the threats she is not traveling to washington, d.c. it said in part, we are not going to provide the specifics of what has been said, but the calls have run the gambit from racist and rude to out right menacing. that's to her dismay she did not travel to washington to vote. in miami gardens in florida, and these are credible threats.
they beefed up security around her. >> they are taking these threats very seriously, wolf. she has security detail here in miami and capital police are keeping an eye on her office there in washington, d.c. the congresswoman not laying low. he was just at a meeting earlier today for infrastructure and transportation. she was greeted warmly by her colleagues. i was taubing to one of her spokespersons here. these messages were in the thousands both here in miami and in d.c. coming in via voice mail. her website, e-mail, fax, and they were menacing including racial slurs and cartoons and of course the threats. while i was inside, i witnessed three flower arrangements showing her constituents's support. while she is receiving a lot of hate, she is also receiving a lot of love from around the country. wolf? >> if she does have a security
detail with her there in miami gardens, we are also told that the capitol hill police are keeping an eye on her office here in washington. basically why the decision not to come to washington if she was going to get good security here number of calls, those menacing messages have scaled down. so we are expecting the representative to return to d.c. next week. >> yeah, we'll look forward to seeing her here in washington. those the threats go away. thanks very much for that report. there is more news following including the u.s. james mattis visits the demilitarized zone with message for north korea. u.s. does not want war. but with north korea firmly
our goal is not war, that message from defense secretary james mattis as he stood in the demilitarized zone separating north and south korea. comes days after pyongyang renewed its threat to conduct a nuclear test over the pacific ocean. mattis reiterated that the u.s. and south korea are diplomatic solution as north korea reckless behavior. meanwhile, north korea officials have paid close attention and flatly rejecting calls for denuclearization. cnn will ripley is the only american journalist in pyongyang right now and has more on their reaction. will? >> reporter: wolf, getting discussions with north korean officials here in pyongyang, secretary mattis didn't say anything in south korea that
separates the north and south that would further in flame this situation. of course they were already furious are the united states mostly because of joint military exercises and remarks of president trump. secretary mattis said that north korea is obsessed with weapons, that they pose a threat to the region, that's what they've heard before. they are taking note of the fact that diplomatic path is possible. but they say the deal breaker is that the united states continues to insist on total denuclearization of the korean peninsula. and from the north korean perspective they think they have come so close to getting an intercontinental ballistic missile to demonstrate that they have that capability, they say they won't put nair nukes on the table. they say why would they? they feel they are protecting them from invasion from the united states. and look at countries that have nuclear arsenal that is are safe and secure, and they think they will have peace and security if
they bolster their weapons, who people around the world could trigger action by trump administration that could push this region down a dangerous road. north koreans are also watching closely president trump visit to this region, he'll arrive late in japan, and also in south korea, china, and the philippines. and if he is in south korea and decides to go to the dmz and says something inflammatory, off script, that has potential to turn this further downhill t wolf? >> reporting from pyongyang. thanks very much. standing by right now are to the white house press briefing, looking at live pictures, sarah huckabee sanders will face reporters, likely to be asked questions about the president's push to get the gag order lifted for fbi informant. we'll bring you that live once
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hi there, i'm brooke baldwin thanks for being with me on this friday afternoon. very shortly the white house is set to hold daily briefing. and once again face questions about the president's possible improper influence over the justice department. five and a half months after he fired the fbi director james comey rgs the subject of multiple probes, watch dogs, including a member of the house intelligence committee, now have concerns that the president may have crossed yet another line. this line involves the fbi and specifically the fbi informant in a case that could ask questions about hillary clinton's role here. so the president apparently directed senior staff quoting a staff to facilitate the j